This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)
1. Umeshu (梅酒) is an alcoholic beverage made by plums harvested in June which have been soaked in liquor.
The liquor can be anything, but generally white liquor, shouchu (焼酎) or brandy is used. Plums become ripe in June. You can’t eat plums raw; they contain a very small amount of poison and are really sour. You either make it into jam, dry it up (which become umeboshi – 梅干し), soak it into vinegar (umezu – 梅酢) or soak it into liquor, which is umeshu!
2. Umeshu is incredibly easy to make.
With the ratio of 1 kg of plums, 0.2 – 1 kg of sugar, and 1.8 L of whatever alcohol of using, put all of these ingredients into a large secure container, shelve the container in a dark cool place. And you’re done! There are some changes you can make to lead the umeshu to perfection, but the general recipe is very simple.
3. You can make your own umeshu at your home!
In Japan, you need a license to make alcoholic beverages from scratch. Mixing alcohol with other beverages–bartending, for example–counts needs a license. However, this law does not apply when a person is making an alcoholic beverage with these following conditions. 1) You are using liquor with 20 or more alcoholic percentage for which alcohol taxes are already paid. 2) You mix the alcohol with the given ingredients: sugar, plum, rice, grape, amino acids, and so on. 3) There is no more than 1 alcohol percentage of fermentation occurring during the process. To sum these 3 sentences up, you can make your own umeshu at your household.
4. You can offer your homemade umeshu at your restaurant, too.
However, you need to follow these conditions. 1) The restaurant can only offer 1 KL of what they make. 2) You need to fill in a form at the tax office beforehand. 3) Mixing drinks using your homemade umeshu (or anything likewise) does not require a alcohol license.
5. For the umeshu, you can drink the liquid, and eat the plum too!
The plum of the Umeshu has a great taste. The plum’s inherent sourness and the sugar from the liquid is concentrated and the whole mixture bursts into your mouth. Yum.
6. Umeshu doesn’t have an expiration date.
The high alcohol percentage of the liquor your’re using prevents the rotting of the plum, so technically umeshu doesn’t have an expiration date. Also, it is said that the umeshu tastes better the longer you soak it.
7. Umeshu is good for your health!
Umeshu helps one to recover from exhaustion. It also relieves constipation, prevents diarrhea, stimulates appetites, and has minerals and calcium. You can get tipsy and healthy at the same time.
8. There are 2 types of umeshu sold in the market.
Umeshu brands that use real plum in the making process will write Honkaku Umeshu (本格梅酒) on their product packaging. Products that don’t have this name are alcoholic beverages that use perfume and food additives to make it taste like umeshu.